Middle East

US says Kurdish-led force more diverse with added momentum

'The SDF continues to operate effectively while absorbing these new, diverse volunteers'

Michael Hernandez   | 09.03.2016
US says Kurdish-led force more diverse with added momentum

Washington DC

WASHINGTON

A coalition of Syrian fighters led by the Kurdish YPG is becoming more diverse as it racks up battlefield victories against Daesh, the U.S. said Tuesday.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest told reporters that U.S. forces advising and assisting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) have noticed an uptick in non-Kurdish fighters flocking to the group.

“Operations around Shadadi have been a good example of how the SDF continues to operate effectively while absorbing these new, diverse volunteers into the organization,” he said of the group’s Arab, Assyrian, Christian and other recruits.

That's been fueled by "smaller forces coming to volunteer and joining the Syrian Democratic Forces," Earnest said. He estimated that non-Kurds now constitute approximately 40 percent of the group.

The SDF was instrumental in the liberation of the northeastern Syrian city of al-Shadadi from Daesh.

The town was a pivotal transit hub for the extremist group, lying between its de facto capitals of Raqqa to the west and Iraq’s Mosul to the east. It was the last city held by Daesh in Syria’s Hasakah province, and the extremists have made several attempts to reclaim it from the SDF.

The majority of SDF's fighters hail from the Kurdish People’s Protection Units, or YPG – considered by the U.S. as a reliable partner in the fight against Daesh, but which Turkey labels a terrorist group.

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